Submission to Murray-Darling Basin Royal Commission
The Murray-Darling Basin Plan is a significant policy initiative, critical to restoring the environmental health of the rivers of the Murray-Darling Basin. The buy-back of environmental water was essential for restoring some of the wetlands and their dependent organisms. Most importantly, this water has also served significant ecosystem services for native fish species relied on by anglers, tourism, floodplain graziers, cultural sites and river health concerns of the Traditional Owners and many who rely on water quality. It also provides essential water for urban and other rural communities as well as diversions for irrigated agriculture. The overarching goal of restoring the rivers of the Murray-Darling Basin remains vulnerable to policy and management shifts more in favour of a particular socio-economic sector (i.e. irrigation), than other socio-economic sectors and meeting environmental health goals. This undermines the objectives and outcomes of the Water Act 2007 and the Murray-Darling Basin Plan and in particular the environmental outcomes, particularly those relevant to international obligations under the Ramsar Convention and migratory shorebirds.